Annual Backpack Program encourages community members to help set students up for success
United Way KFL&A collecting donations of backpacks, school supplies and funds to help families with low-incomes in KFL&A

KINGSTON, ON (July 25, 2022) With back-to-school season right around the corner, United Way KFL&A is encouraging community members to support students. Going back to school comes with lots of excitement and anticipation; it can also be an anxious and stressful time for many families as they do their best to set their young students up for success.

That is where the Backpack Program comes in to help. Coordinated by the United Way KFL&A with donations from individuals, community businesses and organizations, the program distributes backpacks and school supplies to ensure that families and children have all they need for a successful school year.

In 2021, thanks to the community’s generosity and support, over 1,700 children and youth started the school year with supplies and backpacks.

“We are so thankful to United Way and our community for the backpacks filled with school supplies for children headed back to school,” said a representative from Kingston Interval House. “We immediately handed them out and one mom was very teary-eyed when getting hers and so grateful.

As a result of the pandemic and rising costs, the need is even greater this year.

“We know through conversations with agencies and the schools that the needs are greater than any previous year,” said Bhavana Varma, President and CEO, United Way KFL&A. “We are asking our amazing community to come together once again to help children and youth. It may be as simple as picking up a few extra pieces when you do your own shopping, or a financial donation or the donation of supplies or backpacks – you will help so many children and families start the school year off right.”

Once supplies are collected, volunteers will start packing backpacks mid-August for distribution through agencies and schools.

The most needed school supplies include backpacks, lunch bags, pens, pencils, rulers, math sets, markers, crayons, scientific calculators and pencil cases. If possible, gender neutral colours are encouraged.

For a full list of recommended items by age group, or to donate monetarily, community members can visit

Items can be dropped off at:
United Way office –  417 Bagot Street
Monday to Friday from 8:30am -4:30pm
until August 12, 2022

About The Backpack Program
Organized by the Social Issues Networking Group (SING) with support from the United Way KFL&A and various other community businesses and organizations, the program worked for 19 years to ensure that families and children have all they need for another successful school year.

In 2020, with COVID-19 restrictions in place, United Way KFL&A took on the Backpack Program, collecting supplies from community members, workplaces, and businesses. As a result, more than 1,300 backpacks were distributed locally through agencies and school boards. With increased needs, more than 1,700 backpacks were distributed in 2021.

About United Way KFL&A
United Way Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington works closely with the community to ensure that people have the opportunity to reach their full potential and live with hope, dignity and a sense of belonging. Led by volunteers, driven by a small professional staff team, the United Way KFL&A provides inspiring opportunities for people to get involved and support issues they care about through volunteering, giving and being advocates for people who are in vulnerable situations.

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Media Contact:

Mandy Pasch, Director, Marketing and Communications
United Way KFL&A